Monday, 30 March 2009

The Sex Educations Show vs Pornography

I never saw this last series but I heard it was quite good, so here we go. Apparently a third of all children learn about sex through porn. Urgh! How awful. The average teenager watches 90 minutes of porn per WEEK! Wow. That's a lot.
There is something disturbing about hearing a child say 'anal, vaginal and oral sex'. But then, so there should be.
I remember my friend and I finding a grotty old porno with the pages stuck together in a car park; which seems so cliched a way to find out about porn it almost seems made up. I remember we had pay-per-view porn in my house when I was about 13 (I lived with all men) and being a bit disgusted but mainly uninterested by it. Looking back; it was as tame as could be.
Haha, 50% of all internet traffic relates to porn (best put more sex words in my tags, see my hits rise!) and 90% of all children have viewed porn accidentally. That's actually horrible. I am so glad the internet wasn't even invented when I was a child. I actually left the house on occasion.
My sex education at school was absolutely pathetic; I doubt if we had more than one lesson on it. My mum wasn't very helpful either; and when my first boyfriend suggested we had sex I ran away and put about 15 layers of clothing on for the next time I saw him; I had never even considered such a thing. I guess it's that concentrated loss of innocence which is the horrible thing about children and porn; and just how little porn illustrates how (adult) lovers actually relate to each other as humans.
Wow, those women were BRAVE who got naked to show kids what 'real' bodies looked like. It is actually quite shocking that society (ie. the media) shows such an unrealistic portrayal of what womens bodies look like that it has to be pointed out that 'look- this is normal'. Just think about that for a minute! How damaging that is to adults, let alone children. It's actually sick. Hold on, how come we didn't get to see naked male bodies too? Swizz! Sad to hear girls say they want to be thin; I never wanted to be thin. Just not fat! Haha.
Hmm, interesting that the presenter looked for porn online and found some child porn 'within minutes' just from a basic search. I have looked for porn before (come on, who hasn't?!) and have never found porn of that kind, and would presume (and hope!) such a thing would be very difficult to find.
The faces of the parents watching the porn was hilarious. I think the past couple of generations are quite unique in that children know how to use computers and often parents don't, so parents just aren't clued up on what is available out there and kids get away with murder.
How weird that the boys all liked the plastic boobs and said they looked nice and firm. Firm is not a good thing for boobs to be! Boobs should be squashy! Then the girls said boys wanted their boobs to be hard! Hard??? No, that's penises, not boobs! Tragic, really.
God, it makes me realise just how straight I am when forced to stare into another woman's fanny. Even so, I don't think they should give girls tips on how to shave just because blokes like them bald. Once you grow up, you find not every bloke models his ideal woman on something from The Sun (thank god). Hearing the girls saying they wanted to shave to 'impress the boys' was just depressing. I just never had that mentality; of wanting to impress or fit in in any way shape or form. As for boys 'getting grossed out' by fanny; if you're grossed out by it, you're probably gay.
So all mobile phones come with a lock to stop kids looking at porn. Great. I bet it takes the average 14-year-old about 10 seconds to crack that online. If old grannies like me can do torrents and so on, then I don't think breaking into an IPhone is really beyond the capabilities of a horny teenager.
This show was good, but the presenter was really fucking annoying, like the mutant offspring of Fearne Cotton and Claudia Winkleman. And you don't need me to tell you how bad that is.
Another one tomorrow! This could be a busy week in Exitainmentville.

Dispatches: The Trouble With Boris

Boris might be useless, but at least he's not as odious as Ken Livingstone. Is there anyone on the planet who doesn't want to knock him out as soon as look at him?
With that said, Boris is utterly hopeless. I liked the description of him as a child getting distracted by shiny things. Oh, Boris! What a card.
Boris is apparently out of touch for wanting to scrap the bendy bus, as opinion on the street differed. Of course people on the street like the bendy bus; you can ride the bendy bus for free! I barely bother to use my Oyster on it, and I have a year long travel card. You just cant get to the little forcefield things sometimes. I personally have no problem with the bendys (benders?) except for the fact they are full of theives and drug addicts. And aren't they better for buggies/ wheelchairs etc? Some of the regular buses are so narrow and look like they havent been redecorated since 1960 if the upholstery is anything to go by.
Woah- Boris is in charge of 8 BILLION pounds a year! Fuck me.
Boris has been called a hypocrite for promoting green issues/ cycling whilst cutting funding for cycling lanes and scrapping the extension of the congestion charge. Levels of toxic gasses in London breach toxic air laws. Mmm! No wonder I'm ill again. Get me to the seaside.
Next there was a really boring bit about sleaze/ asbestos/ corruption which the basic crux seemed to be, Boris is mean as well as dumb.
If Boris can really make the air in London smell sweeter by the time of the Olympics, then he must have something spectacular up his sleeve. It probably involves the entire population of the city losing it's sense of smell.
It seems to me from this programme that Boris is not only dumb, he's corrupt. And he hates nature. But then he IS a Tory, what did you expect?

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Piers Morgan's Life Stories: Ulrika Jonsson

Was interested to watch this after Ulrika's peculiar Big Brother win; just what was so good about her? Whilst I defended her through John Leslie-gate (mainly due the the fact I liked her in Shooting Stars) she did seem quite hard to like during the three weeks in Big Brother's care.
That 4x4 joke is pretty gross; and would never be applied to men. Ulirka does herself a disservice by laughing at it. It's not against the law to have those children or to sleep with different men, or even to have affairs. She shouldn't have to justify her sex life or offspring to anyone.
Piers said Ulrika will always be defined by her 'men'; but at least she does chop and change, she's not like a Leslie Ash figure stuck in a destructive marriage. She didn't stick with Collymore; did she, thank god.
It was a bit sad when she was talking about her childhood and her mum leaving; my mum also left me in the charge of a lacklustre parent.
Interesting about the rape; that she ended up in hospital afterwards (sadly, some people need to see the bruises to even believe it is rape). People will always hate her for never saying if it was John Leslie (although her silence when he was named says everything, of course). She's still sticking to that party line; I suspect seeing what happened to him (the other women coming forward) gave her some sort of vindication.
Stan Collymore: Piers, kicking a woman in the head does not make you a 'complicated man', it makes you a thug. Proposed after two weeks? Red flag! I think they must have cut out some of the more interesting parts of that conversation, as the subject moved onto Sven. Shame; she could have said something useful about leaving a bad relationship like that.
Her gloating on Sven/Nancy was a bit gross; he's hardly a catch, is he? Most of the details of her relationships were heavily glossed over or seriously edited out.
Big Brother not even mentioned! What the fuck. She is a cold fish; but there is something brave about her. Still; that doesn't make her entertaining. Just intriguing.

Film: [Rec]

I finally watched Rec last night, a Spanish horror film that apparently 'is what Cloverfield dreamt of being'. Well I still like Cloverfield better, but Rec was creepier.
The film follows a TV crew filming firemen out on a job, in which they get called to a house where an old woman has gone crazy. I won't ruin it too much, but the firemen, journalist and all the tenants of the building find themselves locked in, with the building sealed off by the authorities, with no explanation.
It is filmed on a handheld camera by a character we never get to see, and we are taken through the action by the very cute TV reporter, who seems more excited than frightened by the turn of events for the first two thirds of the film- the latter part, she's perhaps wishing they'd gone to rescue a cat from up a tree.
There was definitely a lull in the middle where nothing seemed to happen for at least 15 minutes, but then when the action started again, it was horrifically relentless. I screamed very loudly at one point so I'm glad I was in my bedroom rather than the cinema.
The ending reveals a character who is is creepier than anything the Blair Witch project could offer up and whom I'm sure will be featuring in my nightmares very shortly.
The end seemed inevitable, and I guessed the cause of the mayhem, but was well executed, and genuinely frightening. A million times better than The Orphanage, if you don't mind subtitles it's definitely worth watching.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Apprentice: Rough Tough Cream Puff (what?)

Why is Alan Sugar being such a dick in interviews at the mo? Boo-hoo people think I'm nasty! Big wows. Don't be a baby, Mrs Tiggywinkle.
The Apprentice gets on my nerves a bit (still). It reminds me of work (still). The cocky things they say at the start just seem contrived now.
Alan's opening gambit: 'I know the words to Candle in the Wind.. don't make me Elton John, right?' Sing us a bit then. Prove it.
Alan: 'You lot are as easy to play as bongo drums'. Alan, you've clearly never been to Whirl-y-Gig or you'd know, playing bongos is very difficult indeed; why else would it always be SO out of time with the music (oh, cos they're all fucked off their heads). Either way, bad analogy.
Argh; the blonde went 'don't see me as a dumb blonde'. It's not the fucking 1980s, love! You don't have to defend your hair colour. Alan's not going to walk past and slap you on the arse. She has one of THOSE voices, too, like she's going to patronise you to death.
I liked the American's idea of calling the group 'Shazam'. The men called their group 'Empire'. They should have just called it 'Viagra'. The women eventually went for 'Ignite'.
I found the task tiresome. It's really boring. It's all about laughing at a. the deluded people or b. Alan in the boardroom. I don't really care about the rest. It's like Extreme Makeover, you may as well just watch the first and last ten minutes. I know everyone loves this show, but it just doesn't quite do it for me. I think it needs at least three weeks to bed in as well.
The new flat is very nice. It's all a bit America's Next Top Model. They should have a giant pic of Alan on the wall giving it fierce.
Deborah, why shouldn't we fire you? 'head above the parapet... under the radar...step up to the plate...' And a 'I'm not that kind of person...' for good measure. DIE! DIE! DIE! She's not a person, she's a fucking cliche Jack-in-the-Box!
To be honest... at the end of the day... you're fired. Blah.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Holloway (The prison, not the road)

Missed the first one of these, I think.
I used to live one minutes walk from Holloway prison. Now I live but ten minutes away. So it's interesting to have a nose around and see what's ganning on inside. It's a fairly normal looking building, not very scary. I don't think they'd shoot you if you tried to escape, like in Alcatraz.
The first thing that struck me about the inmates was; chav attack! I don't think they'd appreciate my indie schtick in there. Luckily I'm a law abiding citizen so I have no need to worry. Ahem!
Nice; one of the girls was jailed for smashing a glass in someone's face after downing ten pints of lager. Classy.
Hold up! They have a swimming pool?!!! A free gym! Three meals a day! I want to go into a Daily-Mail style rant about holiday camps. But it's the people that really make the place, and they really make me want to be a good, good girl.
It's funny the doors are painted pastel pink, isn't it, like a little homage to femininity in the face of extreme brutality.
Why would someone smash up the TV in their cell three times? I'd rather smash up both my legs than my TV. Their TVs were MASSIVE too, and they get to watch telly ALL night! Result.
Urgh... I hate hearing women say 'bird'; it really offends me. It's like watching a woman self-harm. I know it's the least of their problems in there, but it speaks volumes about having no respect for yourself.
The show was quite interesting. It's funny how long the sentences you get for smuggling drugs, as opposed to acts of violence, isn't it? The Estonian drug smuggling girl was cute, seemed smart and was probably just desperate; I felt sorry for her stuck in there with some of the others. The actual conditions in the prison seemed OK. But then they should be. It's London, not the third world. Part of the punishment is being away from home; your liberty denied, not torture.
Even so, 12 women have committed suicide in prison in the last three years, so it can't be that cushy.
One girl said she enjoyed being in prison and was 'gutted to leave next week'. She said she felt 'safe' locked in. She got 4 months for assaulting a police officer and possession of a knife. Hardly a tough sentence, is it? The day she got let out, she got into trouble with the police all over again.
It was actually very sad what some of these young women had been through. Some of them have never had a chance. Women in prison is certainly a feminist issue. But that doesn't make me feel any better if one of 'em smashes a glass in my face.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Mondays: Soap on a Mope

How can Eastenders get more viewers than Corrie? Seriously, lately it has been beyond painful. It is an ordeal watching it. Mind you, this is a nation that (allegedly) finds Horne and Corden funny, so there's no accounting for taste.
Enders! I thought they dragged out the Max and Stacey frown-fest long enough but this Ronnie/twitchy Danielle/Archie thing is interminable. It's like self harm for the brain. I HATE ARCHIE! Argh! He's awful! The storyline just makes me angry. No one on earth could be that much of a cunt, except maybe George Lamb. Ahem. I know he's only a character but he's just so irritating and bile-inducing: AND his radio show is shit (sorry, that joke was so bad even Ian Hyland in the News of the World would have balked at it).
Bad day at work? Why not depress yourself further and stare at Billy's green walls. Why not listen to Stacey's mum shrieking and not dying, no matter how hard you pray she will? Why not get screamed at by Bianca?
And if the relentless doom and gloom doesn't tickle your fancy, why not go for a bit of bona-fide boredom? Ah, here's Peggy's election campaign. Here's Patrick/ Chelsea/ Chelsea's boyfriend with the enormous sixhead. Where the fuck is Phil Mitchell? Even him giving Shirley one would be something (god, I AM desperate for storylines). They've even made Roxy boring (will she ever visit I-Beefa again?), and Christian hasn't been seen for weeks. perhaps he's off having some sterotypical gay fun somewhere. I wish we could watch (not all of it, admittedly).
Want some comedy? Try Corrie then because contrary to the script-writers misguided belief, Ian Beale, the Masoods and Heather are NOT FUNNY. AT ALL! Masala Queen? Just fuck off.
How about totty? Er... there IS NONE. Why am I watching this again? I swear off it every few months, but I just can't escape the E20 matrix. Argh! I'm stuck in Groundhog day, just like Danielle.
Corrie, on the other hand, has had some exceptionally good one liners lately. The writing has been top class (although Becky and Steve's wedding was a bit painful, and Becky overacted badly, but the restaurant scene the other night was really good). There are also lots of good new characters (although Luke Strong is killing my fond memories of Queer as Folk!) and good humourous storylines. I like David Platt's mate with the funny voice especially. It was also a masterstroke keeping Tony in, who is looking hotter by the day (I know, it's not right, but it feels it on occasion).
Minor gripes: what is the POINT in Liam's friend, the Lad Rags dude? He seems endlessly dull, is Tony going to off him or something? Also, what is the point in Liz's friend in the pub? And as for Dev's uncle: Jesus! There's definitely a bit of chaff knocking around, make no mistake.
Hold on, kebab boy just said Tesco, instead of Freshco! Has the subliminal advertising begun already?
PS: Klever kitchens guy makes me depressed.
PPS: I like Peter's child Simon, he's mega cute and looks like he should be in an Enid Blyton book. But don't tell anyone I said that. People will talk!

Sexy Video Alert! Patrick Wolf- Vulture

I don't normally post videos because y'know, I like writing and stuff, but this deserves it's own post. I seriously woke up this morning and thought I'd dreamt it. Why can't all popstars get naked and bdsm-ed up for my viewing pleasure? It's mind-boggling!
Patrick Wolf - Vulture

PS. I reviewed his recent gig here, so it aint all salacious perving (but mainly it is, I have to admit).
PPS: I don't like this song that much. But I liked pretty much all of the rest of the new ones I've heard, and this is the best video since The Killers 'Spaceman'.
I salute you, Patrick, for saying fuck you to the mainstream and just going all out fetish-wear crazy. You're a gorgeous, talented freak. Hurrah!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Rogue Traders

I confess, I used to have a bit of a crush on Matthew Alwright. It's cos he reminded me a bit of Jarvis Cocker; come on squint a bit, you can see it. He's a bit jowly since he left Watchdog though; and what the fuck is that other dude on Rogue Traders about? Are they having it off? He does nothing! He just grunts a bit. It's weird! Is he meant to be funny? He's just peculiar.
The first guy they spied on this week was a TV aerial repair man; a subject I can relate to as I was told I needed to pay £150 for a new aerial a couple of weeks ago; not so. Still, mine wasn't as bad as this guy, who poured Red Bull all over the old dear's carpet and said there was a leak which had knackered her aerial, then chucked the Red Bull can in her conifer bush! Matt fished it out later.
Oh my God, they ARE meant to be funny, aren't they? You can't mix funny with consumer issues! You don't see Nicky Campbell joshing around with ticket touts, and people selling toxic sofas. He doesn't stand for that shit!
Next they 'investigated' some loon with a chainsaw who tried to cut a branch of a tree off with a chainsaw that he was leaning on. Nice!
Then Matt dressed up as a tree and made a joke about asking some to 'leave'. Hohoho.
Finally Matt confronted the Red Bull dude... who made a very sharp exit.
It was about this time I realised this was a special double episode of Rogue Traders. I wondered why I was getting so bored. So yeah, some more stuff happened. Then there was some more poor comedy. Matt, you're no Larry David. Stick to the ISSUES.
So yeah, there really is nothing on telly this week.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Live: Patrick Wolf at Heaven

Ahh, Heaven. Memories of vomit, trannies and dancing dating back nearly ten years now. But I'd never seen a band there. I thought it might be a good venue for it though, and I was quite right.
I was so excited about seeing Patrick Wolf. I love, love, love Patrick Wolf so much; he's just totally original, so incredibly talented, and seems like such a genuinely nice person. I have seen Wolfy live a few times, (KOKO, the Astoria, a pub garden) and I can honestly say I have never seen him so CAMP as tonight! Leather, braces, shorts, arse-slapping, thrusting; it was all there. He came on stage with bizarre wings/ giant shoulders, making him look about fifteen-foot tall, and he's pretty tall anyway. He was also wearing some not-misguided leather trousers which showed pretty much EVERYTHING, which was a nice treat for the girls and the gays alike. I love the fact he puts on such a show; he has such great energy, mad style, and is a true artist. Morrissey said recently some people 'just are art' and whilst that sounds utterly pretentious, that applies brilliantly to Mr. Wolf.
The show started really strong; the songs from the new album sound absolutely amazing; and he also did Tristan, which is obviously a huge crowd pleaser, and I enjoyed his chickeny outfit. I think the show lost focus a bit about halfway through; there were just too many new ones; which I fully expected, but I haven't heard the new album yet and I think the crowd was a little restless. I felt he was a teensy bit self-indulgent, but that's also a little unfair because I know I will easily fall in love with all these songs, and if I went to see him live again in three months I'd probably feel quite different.
Patrick has two modes of song; screechy, crunchy technoey yodelling pop songs, and heartfelt, pretty piano-ballady ones. I think he kept on the right side of the line, but he could have done with throwing in Don't Say No or A Boy Like Me halfway through and I would have been set for the night. He did do Bluebells, and Accident and Emergency which is obviously brilliant but I felt like he was coasting a bit during that one. He had taken his top off by this point though, so can't complain.
The show definitely picked up again two thirds in. I can't WAIT to hear the new album. Hard Times sounded so fucking good, the new songs sounded really lush and epic and theatrical and overblown and just fantastic, really. I just wish I could have sung along.
After the encore he came back and did a very 80s/Gary Newman style song (Vulture?) and he did Magic Position which I thought he might not do, but was very glad to hear. That song cannot fail to make me smile, it's the happiest song ever. It's just the best, poppiest love song and should have been a massive hit. My boyfriend says it's too twee, but it isn't! He finished with Bloodbeat, which was well-needed and just the perfect rave tune.
Patrick Wolf is amazing live; an true artist, and his voice has never sounded better than tonight. He put on a great show and I love seeing him throwing himself around the stage, he really does belong up there, and he felt perfectly matched with Heaven.
If you don't know Patrick Wolf; I'd seriously recommend buying Lycanthropy or Wind in the Wires. If you want it more poppy, then most accessibly, The Magic Position. Then put on your glitter and go see him live. A life without Patrick Wolf is a life left wanting. Truth!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Film review: Twilight

I watched Twilight at the weekend, mainly because my best friend is obsessed with Robert Pattinson; I mean, the books! Personally haven't read the books this film is based on, but everyone loves a vampire, don't they?
This film is very much in the vein of Interview with a Vampire, i.e. a literary love story rather than a gore-fest. A lot hinges on English actor Robert Pattinson's performance and sex appeal; if you don't like moody, skinny white blokes, then you'll probably not be fussed. I love moody, skinny white blokes, so I was quite happy. Robert plays Edward, who lives with his anaemic-looking family and doesn't mix much with the other kids at high school, until Bella arrives in town. She is almost as pale as him, quite indie, and fancies a bit. And why not? Edward positively smoulders throughout the film, as much as you can smoulder when you have to avoid the sunshine. He is a most unusual-looking person, and he definitely has something very compelling about him. He is perfectly cast in this film.
There are two aberrations from usual vampire rules; these ones CAN go in the sunshine, but they glow like they've eaten too much Ready-Brek. Also they CAN die; but they have to be ripped to pieces. Nice.
Talking of the glowing, some of the special effects in this film were rather... speci-a-l, as we say, when things are none too special. The bit where they climb up the tree was rather cheapy; I've seen more realistic blue-screen on Torchwood (not really, I wouldn't watch Torchwood if you paid me). But it didn't really matter. The big fight screen was effective, and the film was beautifully shot in pale, twilighty tones, that set the mood from the get-go.
Almost everyone was good-looking in this film, including the baddie vampire, who I quite fancied. It was fast-paced and interesting throughout, and my friend says, fairly loyal to the book.
Things were left very much open at the end, leaving us eagerly awaiting the sequel.
Is it for teenage girls? Maybe. But so's Josh Hartnett, and I like a bit of that, too.
Wipe off that fake tan and join the emos.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Documentary: Addicted to Surrogacy

I think surrogacy is wonderful. I have read amazing stories of women's generosity, and been in awe of them. What a gift. But why would someone want to do it repeatedly? Surely being pregnant is a strain, an ordeal, a drain on your health?
This show followed Amanda, who decided to be a surrogate after having her own baby. Olga, who was to be the baby's new mum said 'what's the point in marriage if you aren't going to have children?' as if people without children are entirely pointless. Amanda had never been a surrogate before, so it was all a bit up in the air how it might pan out.
I can't imagine how it feels to have to put your trust in a woman to give up their baby. It must be hideous; what a delicate, fraught situation. I am so lucky in a way that I don't want children; no biological clock, no worrying about fertility, no worrying about finding the right man, the right house, or being a good role model. It is very easy for me.
Another surrogate, Jill, had been a surrogate to EIGHT. She just seemed to be addicted to the feeling of being pregnant. All of her babies were biologically hers, but she had never kept one! How weird that she didn't want children, but she loved being pregnant. Now she was 44 and still trying! Time to stop. But it gave her life a purpose. She'd spent 18 years being pregnant for other women and hadn't had sex since she was 20.
Tammy-Lynn was American (no shit, with that name) and on her 6th and 7th babies (twins) for an English couple she didn't actually like. What must her husband think? I felt sorry for the couple waiting outside the room as the twins were born. How frightening to have your fat in someone else's womb.
Next we saw Carol who'd had twelve surrogate children, including triplets. Eek! She said her health is now on poor shape, and she had varicose veins and dodgy teeth. One baby she had for another couple turned out to accidentally be her own husbands instead of the new father's! Apparently the babyless couple were very angry but kept the baby. Carol seemed quite flippant about this, like they should be grateful for any baby, and I guess they should in a way, but it must have been a shock.
It was weird seeing the dynamic when Amanda's baby was born, Olga tiptoeing round, feeling like she was stealing the baby. Amanda was amazing, really; what a big thing to do for someone. How brave. I think it genuinely is that the women know how much they love having children and want to pass that onto another woman. But still she cracked when the baby left. That was hard to watch. I was shocked when she said she'd do it again! It must be like a weird buzz.
Personally, I'd rather have an addiction that's more managable. Luckily I do. Crisps!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Album review: New Rhodes- Everybody Loves a Scene

I remember the first time I saw New Rhodes on TV, we had MTV piped into our bedroom (oh those were the days) and the video came on and I thought he had the most Morrissey-esque voice. It was like a mini Moz, crossed with a bit of Pulp. I very much enjoyed their debut album and saw them live a couple of times, and liked them lots, especially the really giddily happy bass/and or guitar player (I can't remember which but he looked like all his dreams had just come true up on that stage)
They did make me feel about 100 years old because they looked so young but that's not their fault.
I didn't even know they had a new album out, I'm so out of the loop these days, but I read a student newspaper this week and it had a (bad) review of it in. It also had an article about how Morrissey wasn't as good anymore, so zzzzzzzzzzz.
Anyway, I digress. It's weird, the singers voice seems to have changed a bit, maybe it's matured, or they messed with it in the studio. Eithr way, they still sound lovely and poppy. I love the way he sings, and I love the energy of the band, they sound really fresh. The opening track is excellent. I love their lyrics too, they are cute and poignant, a bit like Emmy. I suppose it is retrospective, but it's putting a different slant on the old Britpop days.
Not sure about the song The Bells of St John where they go a bit maudlin. I liked A&E, the repetitive end part is really good. I always like songs about hospitals; Accident and Emergency by Patrick Wolf and Take Me to the Hospital by The Faint being trendsetters in that department.
I also very much like Is This The Life That You Want?' What a great title. 254 is about fancying someone on the bus. And why not? You Can Have It All ends the album nicely. There are no tracks that stand out as much as I Wish I Was You or You've Given Me Something I Can't Give Back but on the whole I thought the album was really catchy and enjoyable, and I think it might be a grower, too.
Do all the songs sound a bit similar? Yes. But there's no real bad ones, so who cares?
New Rhodes make me feel young. They can put that on the advert.

Rihanna: Here's your chance to be a role model

You can't have failed to read the story of pop singer Rhianna beaten up by her boyfriend Chris Brown (I can sing you a bit of Umbrella, but him, not so sure- perhaps that was part of the problem) whilst en route to the Grammys.
The story took several twists and turns. Firstly I found it shocking that the story even broke in the first place; you can only imagine how much of this stuff goes on and is carefully brushed under the (red) carpet? The fact this even scratched our radar proved it was something very bad indeed. Once the pictures leaked, it was unthinkable that she would take him back; why would she? A successful, independant pop star, greatly admired by people with you know, no taste in music, but don't hold that against her.
There was a positive moment when her dad spoke up and said 'At some point, she will speak out. I hope she will stand up for women all over the world.' My heart soared when he said that; I really hoped that would be the case. I looked forward to that.
And then...
'Role model' has always struck me as a horrible phrase; who would want to be one? When The One Show robots asked Moz if he has a responsibility to his fans, he replied, 'I have a responsibility to no one.' And thank God.
But the life of a pop show-pony is different. Rhianna (and Chris Brown) produce music for teenagers. It is all about appearance (because there genuinely is nothing underneath). It is image, image, image; if you look right, and can be marketed correctly, it doesn't matter how you sound. Look at the way Britney's meltdown has been all but erased, even though it's still written all over her face. If they say it enough times, maybe we'll believe she's that sweet little girl again, and not picture the hospital stretcher and the dilated pupils and the headshaving. Oh and don't mention the children, she sure loves those little boys.
In the rock/indie world, this kind of behaviour adds to your kudos. But the pop world is a different machine. The Simon Cowells and Pete Watermans want these people wrapped in plastic, saying the right thing. Domestic violence? That's an issue not conducive with the glitz and the glam- the lie.
Chris Brown is beneath contempt. I refuse to believe he could claw his way back into any sort of career; he has got to be finished (please don't let this statement come back to haunt me). Wife-beating is about one rung more sales-friendly as kiddy- fiddling, I'd hope. But Rhianna? She has the opportunity now for something amazing, something to be proud of, and that is to be a good example to every 18-year-old girl getting slapped around by her boyfriend, or any married woman getting regular beatings. If Jade Goody can really make thousands of women go and get a smear test, then Rhianna could make at least a few young women in awe of her look twice at their relationship, look twice at their face and realise they want it to stay pretty. They might think, 'if Rhianna can leave, so can I.' She needs to stand up and make a statement, and not just a verbal one, but one with her actions.
If she gets back with Chris Brown, what kind of message is that sending out? That even with all her money and success, she can't do any better. So God help women trapped in poverty being abused, or women so ground down that they can't see a way out. Because if even Rhianna's advisors, her PR machine, and apparently close family can't stop her going back, then what hope is there for the average women who you know, loves him, and he's nice 95% of the time, right, and he's so sorry afterwards (these things are cliches because they are true).
I don't believe what I read anyway, so hopefully it's not the case. But if it is, she could end up doing more unintentional harm to women than that thick fucking pig of a boyfriend of hers. And it may seem anti-feminist, and like I'm blaming the victim; I'm not. Because this is about women. But too many women have dropped the charges, only to see this man they love coming at them with a knife next time, or turning up with a shotgun, or murdering their kids, or their mum, or their new boyfriend, or the whole bloody lot.
I do believe that occasionally abusers who want to can change. But they can't change overnight. And they have to realise what they've done is abhorrent, not just be told it. And they have to be genuinely sorry; wait for a lot of time to pass, and in the vast majority of cases, to not be with that person they hurt anymore. Because those dynamics in that relationship have changed forever.
A story on Digtal Spy today says, 'Rihanna's father Ronald Fenty recently insisted that he would support his daughter's decision to rekindle the romance.' That's not a romance. It's a crime scene.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Album review: Cursive- Mama I'm Swollen

Sorry for the blout; my freeview has gone all black so no telly. Watching TV on the computer is all well and good but it's hard to write at the same time as you have to make the screen diddy. So instead I bring you; tunes.
Cursive! Not just a shouty Bright Eyes, although... er, mainly just that. I do like Cursive loads and they have a few EXCELLENT pop songs (Art is Hard, Driftwood, The Recluse- oh fuck I'm like some Morrissey tourist saying they like that one about Hector) but sometimes a whole album can get a bit... SHOUTY!
So let's see if this one bucks the trend. Squealy guitars, check. Er, shouting, check. Quite a good opener, if a bit indistinct. I like his voice, I think it sounds virtually identical to Conor's at times, I think it might be the accent. It's funny though how Conor's shouting is to be encouraged, yet this dude's gets a bit grating. I saw Cursive once, though, and they unexpectedly rolled out all the good shit. They arent as good as The Faint, though (my friend of the burn piano island variety is going to kill me for saying this, but he is hey-ho about Conor, so fuck him!)
I Couldn't Love You sounds peculiarly English; a bit Cure-ish. Donkeys is pretty awful. It reminded me of something, but it wasn't something good (Prince?). I don't think the breathy talking thing works for him like it does for Moz in Sorrow will Come in The End.
This album drags quite badly in the middle, and only a squeaky violin wakes me up. He isn't even shouting. What the fuck?
Mama I'm Satan was the best title and the best song yet, which doesn't say much as it was pretty boring and er... what's another word for shouty?
Sorry if you're a massive Cursive fan, you probably want to bludgeon me. But today I read Q magazine and they gave Lily Allen's album a whole star more than Morrissey's, so imagine how I feel?
Hehe after all that I really liked that last song, which is probably the least Cursivey one. Even the shouty bit was good. Still, it weren't no Staying Alive (the Cursive song, not the Bee Gees hit). But on the whole the album was just too samey. It was like a sanitised Happy Hollow.
Come back Sierra, all is forgiven. (I LOVE Sierra! I love that whole album actually)
PS: what is it with 'mama' at the moment? She's sneaking into all the titles. She hasn't been so popular since the Spice Girls dragged her out.